Tuilagi – Freddie and the dreamers and Coaches – a new approach
I’ve long wished that one day I’d wake up to hear Coventry has made a big, big signing, someone who’s very name inspires fear in the opposition…someone like a Tuilagi, for instance.
Just imagine that…
Well, you may say I’m a dreamer…
…but I’m not the only one.
And wishes, it appears do sometimes come true.
Okay, it’s Freddie Jnr, not Manu…
…but hey, he’s still a Tuilagi.
The announcement on Monday that Coventry has procured the services of Leicester back row forward Freddie Tuilaga caught a fair few of us by surprise and having had a day or two for the news to sink in, I have to say I’m quite excited by the prospect.
Probably, above all, else because he’s a Tuilagi…
Uncles Alesani, Henry and Manu are familiar names, all having played for Leicester over the last 15 years or so, as is did Freddie, Freddie Junior’s dad. Anyone with that kind of pedigree behind them is someone you’re going to want to watch play.
For you, rather than against you.
At just 19, I admit I know next to nothing about Freddie but if he has the same degree of influence on a game from the back row as Jack Willis, the Wasps Academy DR who so impressed everyone last weekend, then I think the it could be a pretty astute signing by Rowland Winter. And whereas we only have the Wasps players for a limited time as of now, Freddie Jnr is with us for the rest of the season, other than A League and perhaps Anglo-Welsh games.
From the clip that’s appeared on the Messageboard he’s big, very big, and provided he’s mobile with it, Freddie could be a real asset. His inclusion into the squad certainly gives RW greater options in an area of the team where there are still some concerns and it sends out a message to the rest of the team that, if necessary, the coaches are prepared to bring in other players to ensure Cov standards continue to improve. Competition is more often than not healthy and with RW seemingly happy to rotate players in most positions, it should still enable everyone to get regular game time.
That said, no 8 is one of the few positions where he has said previously that selection will be determined on the basis of form only, rather than rotation…along with 2, 9, 10 – in other words the spine of the team.
It will be interesting to see how long it is before Freddie gets to make his first appearance in a Coventry shirt. With Jack Willis looking to be here for another couple of weeks at least, will both he and Freddie start, or will one of them come off the bench, if indeed the plan is to select them together in the same match day squad?
And as a spectator. I’d be more than happy if both can be accommodated!
Whatever the pros and cons, he’s comes from a family born to play rugby and with all we know of the other Tuilagis, that first appearance is going to be something special. And with any luck there will be other spectators of the same opinion…why heck, it might even induce a few from across the city to make the short journey over to the BPA to see what all the fuss is about.
It certainly won’t do Coventry any harm whatsoever to have one of the Tuilagi’s in our midst and I would imagine there’ll be a bit of interest elsewhere in National 1 following the recent announcement.
It has to go down as one of Coventry’s more high profile DR appointments in recent times..
Playing for Cov…
Who’d have thought it, eh?
I’m telling you now, Freddie…
…You were made for
(Everybody tells me so…)
Two for the price of one there, then…
In two weeks time Coventry RC travel up to north to play Hull Ionians.
And, hopefully, accompanying them will be a coach full of travelling Cov supporters, organised by Coventry Rugby Supporters’ Club.
Anyone who has travelled to the previous three away games at Moseley, Blackheath and Esher will already have saved more than the cost of their membership through the discounts available for the cost of the coach and entrance tot he ground and with further away days already planned, those making regular use of the Supporters’ coach will, as they say, be quid’s in. The launch of the Supporters Club has been a huge success and the Committee has worked extremely hard to ensure that those entrusting the Committee with their monies will get a good deal over the 12 months of membership.
And whilst Cliff Bennett, Chair of the Committee, will be quick to say it’s very much a team effort on the part of the whole Supporters’ Club Committee, the discounts available to members at each of the away grounds that we have visited so far this season are very much the result of his own efforts rather than those of the entire committee.
Everyone has had a pivotal role to play in many other aspects of the formation and running of the CRSC, but the away day travel is definitely Cliff’s baby.
Cliff and Quent, who has worked tirelessly as Secretary, have tended to very much lead the way on most things and I’ve been hugely impressed with what they have managed to achieve in such a short space of time and also how they have utilised the strengths of the rest of the committee to their best advantage. Graham, Steve, Nigel, Paul, Peter, Rob and Louise have all contributed greatly in all sorts of ways to firstly get the CRSC up and running and then to provide support and guidance during these first few weeks.
And, much to my shame, I’m afraid I’ve done very little, other than go on holiday and make a few suggestions here and there.
Until the trip to Hull, that is…
…when it will be my turn to be Coach Manager.
In truth, I am a little nervous already at the prospect, especially as on the two previous trips I’ve been on Steve Hood did such an excellent job (as I understand did Paul on the Moseley jaunt).
But I am also somewhat excited.
As a teacher, I’ve been responsible for a fair few coach trips the length and breadth of Birmingham, and on one occasion we even ventured as far as Ironbridge, an expedition which is still major talking point about amongst my old school’s alumni, such was its success.
So I can, with some confidence, reassure anyone intending to travel on the Supporters’ coach that the organisation of the Hull trip will be up there with the already very high standards experienced by those who have travelled with us previously.
And here’s the thing…I want to make it an even better experience for everyone involved…as safe and as free from hassle as I possibly can and to that end, in light of all my previous years of experience as a senior teacher in this area, I’m going to add a few extra safeguarding measures to ensure everyone’s well-being whilst under my care…
These will include:
- a note from a responsible adult to acknowledge he/she is aware you are attending the trip, with a slip that needs to be signed by the aforementioned and returned to me by the morning of the date of travel;
- a check list of items you should bring with you to include suggestions on such diverse items as sensible footwear, appropriate clothing for all weathers and types of foods you might wish to include in your healthy packed lunch (which mustn’t be consumed on the coach, of course);
- an understanding that absolutely no fizzy drinks or sweets of any sort should be brought on to the coach;
- the recommendation that no valuables, including phones and/or jewellery be brought on the trip and if they are, then they should be placed in a tin and left on the coach for the duration of the game;
- a requirement that notice of any allergies should be given to me prior to departure and any medicines that might be needed left with the driver who will stay on the coach at all times;
- registers to be taken before we leave and on return to the coach after any stops; names to be given in alphabetical order by surname;
- the sounding of a hand bell (I’m hoping Mick will have got hold of one by then) in the clubhouse 15 minutes prior to our return to Coventry to allow everyone enough time to make their way back to the coach;
- a contact number from everyone travelling in case I need to contact home in respect of illness, poor behaviour, failure to make departure times and so on;
- the banning of chewing gum;
- headphones removed when you are being given instructions and when being addressed by the players or coaches prior to returning to Coventry;
- a recommendation that those travelling on the coach take no more than £15 in cash, that being enough to buy entrance into the ground, a soft drink and a programme. Any more will get wasted in the gift shop or the consuming of unhealthy foods…;
- an understanding that any poor behaviour might well require the person(s) involved to make their own way home. Examples of behaviours leading to this will include mooning on the bus, the singing of sexist and/or offensive songs and conduct in the ground that is not representative of Coventry Supporters’ Club;
- one supporter designated sick bag monitor with responsibility for ensuring all used bags are discarded appropriately.
I’m sure everyone considering travelling by coach to Hull will agree that the above will help make the experience that little bit better and I fully expect others on the Committee following on from me as Coach Manager will want to adopt them as well.
Should be fun day out…
For those eagerly awaiting the next instalment of Burger Watch – the waiting is almost over.
Istanbul – does it live up to the hype…?
Find out tomorrow.
Couldn’t resist it, sorry…
Can you believe that choreography…?
I dare you not to laugh and by the end of the first 30 seconds at that.